By Harold Kapindu
By now the assumption is most of us have watched Ice Cube’s “Straight Outta Compton” movie or watched what Kendrick Lamar did at this year’s Grammys or watched what Beyonce did at the US Superbowl during her new song formation’s performance.
These three artists, Ice Cube, Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce have redefined what music is about and used their celebrity status to speak out on the social ills in their society.
If used correctly, music is a powerful tool that transforms people’s lives, gives hope and change social-economic and political setup.
NWA (Niggaz with Attitude) did just that in the early 90’s as depicted in “Straight Outta Compton” movie. They rapped about police brutality and gun violence and once their voices were heard, there was a complete change in black communities in America. After the brutal murder of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in 2015, black artists have been outspoken on police brutality hence the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
This year, Kendrick Lamar made headlines at the Grammys when he made a controversial performance of his songs from his multi-platinum album “To Pimp a Butterfly”. Day’s after the Grammys, Beyonce also had her fair share of controversy after releasing “Formation” video and displayed a controversial performance at the Superbowl in which she criticized police brutality.
After these incidences, racial issues have taken a center stage and both black and white people are opening up in debates.
My point is, maybe it’s high time Malawi urban music artists took responsibility in addressing social ills and play an advocacy role in their music. We have had enough of “Turn-Up” music where you are talking about having fun, drinking alcohol and telling us how many women you have.
There are so many issues happening in the country and if you keep quite as if everything is rosy then your listeners won’t have the audacity to act because they look up to you as their role models. Am not saying doing happy music is bad, all am saying is at least there should be a balance of “Turn Up” music and music with a message.
People listen to music for different reasons; some listen to music when they are relaxing, driving, eating, some simply want to hear the message and not everybody wants to dance.